Telegraph to fight Galloway libel damages

The
Daily Telegraph has been given the go-ahead to challenge a High Court
damages award to former MP George Galloway after he sued the paper for
libel over allegations that he was “in the pay” of Saddam Hussein.

Lords
Justices Tuckey and Latham at London’s Court of Appeal gave The
Telegraph permission to appeal. The case will probably to be heard
later this year.

They are challenging High Court judge Mr Justice
David Eady’s ruling that The Telegraph libelled the MP and must pay him
£150,000.

Lord Justice Tuckey said granting permission would give
the Appeal Court the opportunity to consider issues raised by the case,
including the newspaper’s public interest defence, that are of
importance to other cases.

The Appeal Court judges continued a stay on the payment of damages and legal costs until the appeal is decided.

In
the High Court battle last year, Galloway denied he was “a greedy
crook” who took cash from Saddam’s regime to fund a luxury lifestyle.

The
50-year-old former MP for Glasgow Kelvin told the judge – who heard the
case without a jury – that he never took “Saddam’s shilling” to live
the good life with a home in London and a luxury £250,000 villa in
Portugal, and “at least a box of Havana cigars”.

He said: “The allegations made by The Telegraph are very serious and extremely damaging. They are all false.”

The Telegraph maintains that the articles it published raised matters that needed investigating in the public interest.

After
the ruling last December, Galloway said he had “risked absolutely
everything” by bringing the case. Total costs for both sides were
estimated at £1.2 million and Galloway said that had he failed, he
would have been bankrupted.

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